BALDWIN'S BOUNTY

Course to teach fundamentals of beekeeping

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 3/10/17

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — There was a time when beekeeping was a simple process.

Beekeepers could just set up their hives and leave them virtually unattended, checking on the occasionally and …

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BALDWIN'S BOUNTY

Course to teach fundamentals of beekeeping

Posted

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — There was a time when beekeeping was a simple process.
Beekeepers could just set up their hives and leave them virtually unattended, checking on the occasionally and reaping the sweet rewards that they provided.
“The process is so much more complicated now than when my father was keeping bees in the 70s,” said Loxley resident Rebekah Hargraves, current president of the Baldwin County Beekeepers Association. “It is a lot more hands-on than it used to be and requires a lot more training.”
While the number of bees has been on the decline in recent years, the need for bees remains as vital as ever, particularly in a vast agricultural county like Baldwin, Hargraves said.
“Bees are not only responsible for pollinating the food we eat, but they are also responsible for pollinating the food for animals that provide food for us,” she said.
While the European breed of honeybees that is prevalent in this area is not considered endangered like some other species, raising bees does present some challenges, Hargraves said, such as parasites and disease that, if go unchecked, can destroy the hive.
“You have to know what to look for and how to treat it,” she said. “It can be a complicated process.”
The Baldwin County Beekeepers Association was established more than 50 years ago by beekeeper Rex Aldridge of Robertsdale who, at 96, is the association’s oldest member. Association members continue to meet once a month at the PZK Hall in Robertsdale and will host a Beginning Beekeepers Course beginning Monday, March 27 at the PZK, which is located at 17933 Alabama 104 in Robertsdale.
The five-day course costs $50 per person, $25 for each additional person. You can also sign up for individual modules at a cost of $15 per module. The course includes four nights of classroom instruction from 6 to 8 p.m. beginning March 27 and running through March 30.
Topics for each night of instruction include:
March 27: Introduction to bees and beekeeping, part 1.
March 28: Introduction to bee and beekeeping, part 2.
March 29: Pests and problems in the hive.
March 30: Honey plants, pollination and other products of the hive.
On Saturday, April 1 there will be an open hive demonstration and question and answer session with instructors conducted at a working hive at Hargraves’ home in Loxley.
The course is designed for people interested in becoming beekeepers, Hargraves said. It will also help provide information to newly established beekeepers.
You can pre-register for the course by calling Hargraves at (865) 617‐9935 or you can sign up and pay on the first night of the course. If you would like more information on becoming a beekeeper or information about the Baldwin County Beekeepers Association, visit baldwinbees.com.